it does, and it must

Noisy Grace & Flashy Atonement (Lite)

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Noisy Grace & Flashy Atonement (Lite)

How do I atone for my many sins? My penance? A single Glory Be . . .

We are living in profoundly dangerous times. As poets and writers what can we do?

What must we do?

In my opinion, it is the curse and blessing of poets, prophets, idiots and saints to have to look more deeply into the soul of the world and operate from that latitude.

It might help to think about our personal histories and how we arrived at what we know, what we feel, and who we are today…

I have this photograph of the poet Robert Sund* and me.

I’d gone to visit Robert in the “hip” town of LaConner, WA. where he spent his final years and days.

This picture above was shot the last time I ever saw him.

Sund was a genuinely Whitmanesque figure and presence in the Pacific Northwest from the 1960’s through the 90’s. A pure poetic spirit, uncompromising in the best and worst sense of that word.

Noisy Grace & Flashy Atonement (Lite)

Robert Sund

Robert Sund had lived with (and Off) my first wife Linda and me when we were 20-year-old’s and he was in his late 30’s or early 40’s. He was just gaining recognition as a poet and performer in the Seattle area.

I admired him and listened to him and knowing him set me on a path I am still on today these fifty-plus years later.

Noisy Grace & Flashy Atonement (Lite)

I had learned in my youth how to be a poet from Robert: How to play the role and look the part and convince myself that it was all worthwhile or that at least, perhaps one day, it could be.

In the picture at the top of this story of just the two of us, as you can see, I’m standing, hand on hip and Robert appears about to speak.

We look like wary, aging hippies closing in on the end of our run. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what we were and I still am.

I own the picture, a gift from the photographer; the date in the corner of the photo is 2012. But the picture was taken many years before that; Sund died in 2001.

Noisy Grace & Flashy Atonement (Lite)

All of this seems so long ago now. but 1968 was the same as 2020. Then we had Nixon, now we have Trump. In 1860, were Whitman and Lincoln.

Poets and writers have always had a role to play and the only thing that stops you from stepping up now is the belief that what we write and feel and say won’t matter.

But it does, and it must.

It will

It always has.

Everything changes and nothing ever does.

Robert and I are still standing together and my friend is still pointing his camera at us because we live in a world without end.

Life is always and will forever be as it was and is and, glory be, ever shall be.

In these dangerous times, we must remember where we came from, realize who we are, and use our voices to try and make a difference.

Everything changes and nothing ever does.

Just wait a little while. You’ll see.

Just Weighing Separator

*Robert Sund 

“Two Northwest writers,” image used by permission Terry John Pratt, Flickr

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